Ah oui. Especially since they’re the poor white trash of education.

You know. On-line university courses. Most of them stink, for obvious reasons.

But one thing about them — because they don’t use up classrooms and equipment and campus time in the way of courses where you see and hear other human beings, they’re cheaper, that’s for sure…

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4 Responses to ““Why do we have to pay significantly extra to take these?””

  1. francofou Says:

    It’s odd the paper didn’t mention anything about faculty outrage at this example of theft.

  2. PhilosopherP Says:

    I didn’t see anything about a change in class size for on-line courses vs. face-to-face courses.

    There is ample evidence that on-line courses shouldn’t have more than 25 students per section. This is because a good on-line course is writing intensive and faculty can’t give good feedback to a large number of students.

    Reducing class sizes means an increase in instructional costs — because a good on-line course doesn’t just run itself. A real person needs to be able to answer questions and be involved in the instructing part of it.

    So, if my college wanted to have an on-line Ethics course (and have me teach it), they’d have to change the class size from 50 face to face to 25 on-line students. Thus, I’d be half as ‘productive’ on-line as I would face to face. An on-line surcharge seems an appropriate way to deal with the differences, no?

    Also, a good on-line course takes more time to prepare and deliver than a face to face course. Think about all the times you’ve discussed familiar material – how much do you really prepare for that course? You know what you need to say and how to say it. Now imagine if you had to write all that stuff down so the students could read it… that’s a lot of work. Additionally, the discussion sessions are more like reading informal papers being exchanged between students — and you need to read/participate in that discussion.

    Sure, it’s easy enough to say "read chapter X and answer these quiz questions" as an on-line course — but, that’s really horrible teaching and not something any instructor with integrity would do. Of course, it isn’t much different than some do in person…so, it’s no surprise that some do it on-line as well.

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    PhilosopherP: Since preparation varies widely among professors, and among types of courses, I don’t think one can get very far pricing any sort of course offering in those terms.

    On class size, you make a very important point, and the writer of this article should have told us how the size of the average Milwaukee online class compares to the size of the in-class offering.

    But please read this

    http://www.margaretsoltan.com/?s=online+professor+golf

    to get a sense of the reality of online instruction right now. No caps on numbers of students… or, in one case, a cap of 36 students (you mention no more than 25). Big financial incentives for faculty to teach LOTS of online courses per semester, and large financial rewards PER STUDENT in online courses.

    See why I call it the poor white trash of education?

  4. Cassandra Says:

    Isn’t it becoming clear that most schools are admitting too many students for the resources (specifically faculty and classrooms) they actually have?

    Sure, it was easy to just build 5 brand-spanking-new dorms…and students centers…and rock-climbing walls…and, well, you get the idea.

    But they can’t hire too many more adjuncts or reduce their pay very far now, can they? I mean, their reputations would plummet straight into the toilet.

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